Paige, Barrett, Neville, Spud, Magnus & Bram - Who will be the next breakout star from the UK independent scene to make it to the big leagues? Whilst we certainly don't profess to be experts, here (in no particular order) is the first part of our bite size guide to some of the top talent working the UK Indy scene today:
This Glaswegian phenomenon had to be first on our list. For the uninitiated, Grado is a larger than life Scotsman, whom has taken the UK scene by storm. The breakout star of a BBC documentary - Insane Fight Club - he has engendered a cult following through his quirky online promos (mostly centred around his eating habits) and his catchphrase "Its Yersel" (read: It's You) which was borrowed from his brothers drinking mates. A quick search of youtube will lead you to an ICW crowd chanting him name in Goldbergesque glory before he enters to his trademark theme - Madonna's 'Like A Prayer'. As he put it himself: "I'm not one of the physical wrestlers, I'm more of an entertainer". A 360 from the top rope you won't get from Grado but he's bound to make a splash before long.
2. Rampage Brown
Yorkshireman Brown, is one of those that has already had a taste of mainstream success. An FCW alumnus, he spent time between 2010 and 2011 working under contract as a developmental talent with WWE. More recently, those in London that were lucky enough to have tickets will have seen him go toe-to-toe with TNA's Samoa Joe, earning the Samoan wrecking machines respect and an invitation to Challenge TV's British Boot Camp in the process. A former champion in both singles and tag-team competition, Rampage's star shines brightly.
3. El Ligero
There are few indy shows in the UK which take place without Ligero on the card. The bull-masked crusierweight boasts to have performed for over 100 companies not to mention experience as an announcer, referee and commentator. He worked a show for Pro-Wrestling Noah during their UK tour and worked inaugural shows for Preston City Wrestling and Progress in London. As one fan put it; "Regardless of where he is on the card, he always puts in 100% effort".
4. Jack Jester
Another ICW mainstay and lead figure in the BBC's Insane Fight Club, Jester is the current heavyweight champion. Viewers of the documentary will know that his dad saw him wrestle for the first time during his championship bout and that he has fought hard for the recognition he's achieved. He's been in contact with WWE but is equally keen to make it in Japan. Having started as a face/good guy, he's now taken a darker path and his use of the tombstone pile driver as a signature move, might indicate a long winning streak ahead if its other main proprietor is anything to go by.
5. Noam Dar
Another Scottish star and UK Wrestler of the Year 2012 according to Fighting Spirit Magazine, Dar is certainly one to watch. Despite being one of the younger stars on the indy scene at 21, he has faced amongst others AJ Styles, John Morrison, Prince Devitt (Finn Balor) and more. He also competed for Dragan Gate UK and has held numerous titles. An Israeli by birth, Dar has intensity and talent in equal measure. We are reliably informed that his audition for British Boot Camp will be one to watch...
6. Dave Mastiff
Dave 'Big Bad' Mastiff is, as PCW put it: "a super-heavyweight with the agility and speed of a cruiserweight". Having seen his audition for British Boot Camp, this is something we can attest to. Mastiff started wrestling in 2002 under the name Moralez before changing his character in 2011. With his tough style and big build, comparisons might be made to WWE legend Earthquake or the Big Boss Man. One thing is for certain, enter the ring with Mastiff and you're not going to leave without having suffered a beating.
Coming in Part 2:
Jimmy Havoc, Martin Stone, Marty Scurll, Project Ego, RJ Singh and Sha Samuels